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The Fountain

When the inscrutable
embraces sluggish time
spreading its invisible light between two suspended shores
rags of screams, a flight of black cloth
spread a hollow vertigo
down the native alley

Sanctuaries in ruins, fathomless crypts,
sepulchres with no remains merge
above a beaded sheet
wrapped around the earth’s flank

The eye of silence peers
and sinks into the snowed-up scene
tears it up like a lightning-blade
digs the earth to the bone
a grave for the wandering woman

Copyright Aïcha Arnaout. Translation copyright 2011 by Cécile Oumhani. All rights reserved.